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News: Federal, Tigray military commanders to form joint committee to elaborate DDR, agree to facilitate unhindered humanitarian access, movement of humanitarian aid workers

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Addis Abeba – The top military leadership of the federal army and Tigrayan forces who have concluded a five day meeting in Nairobi, Kenya, have agreed to form a joint committee to “elaborate on the modalities for the implementation of comprehensive disarmament, demobilization and reintegration program.”

The parties also agreed to facilitate unhindered humanitarian access too all in need of assistance in Tgray, and the neighboring region, to facilitate unhindered movement of humanitarian aid workers, and provide security guarantees for humanitarian aid workers and organizations as well as protection of civilians consistent with the provision of the agreement.

The announcement was made today after five days meeting which started on 07 November between the top military commanders of the Federal Government of Ethiopia and Tigrayan forces. The delegation from the two side was led by Field Marshal Berhanu Jula, Chief of the Ethiopian Defense Forces, and Lt. General Tadesse Worede, chief of Tigrayan forces.

Speaking at the press announcement located at the Moran Center, in Karen, Nairobi, Field Marshal Berhanu Jula, chief of staff of the ENDF, said that the two sides “have been engaged in a good spirit” during the discussions in Nairobi, and reached at an agreement that both “will fully dedicate ourselves to implement to Pretoria agreement.”

Lt. General Tadesse on his part said the people of Tigray have “suffered untold misery for the last two years and still continue to suffer. The committeemen we are making today is with the hope and expectations that our peoples’ suffering will come to an end and soon.”

He however said that this is “a very daunting task in the light of the main spoilers from region or outside who are profiteering from this war. It is our expectation that the other party honors this agreement not only to end this conflict but also to facilitate humanitarian access and resumption of services.”

The speeches were followed by the two sides signing on the “Declaration of the Executive Plan of the Pretoria Peace Agreement,” as it was referred to by Ambassador Redwan Hussien, Security Advisor to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

The issue of the withdrawal of foreign forces remained unaddressed openly both in the speeches by the top commanders and the readout of the press statement that followed.

Although Eritrean forces are fully engaged in the war since the beginning, the text of the cessation of hostilities does not acknowledge Eritrea by name, but mentions instead “foreign forces.”

…under “Disarmament of Tigray armed combatants,” the Declaration 2.1/D stated that “disarmament of heavy weapons will be done concurrently with the withdrawal of foreign and non-ENDF forces from the region.”

Responding to a question on presence of the Eritrean forces, former Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, said the delegation was “not here to talk about any particular country this way or that way, we are here to talk about the peace of Ethiopia.” He emphasized that meeting was about silencing the guns and humanitarian access. “All the issues pertaining to silencing the guns and access to humanitarian needs, rebuilding Ethiopia have all been taken into account, as well as safeguarding the sovereignty and integrity of the nation state of Ethiopia.”

However, under “Disarmament of Tigray armed combatants,” of the Declaration point 2.1/D, it is stated that “disarmament of heavy weapons will be done concurrently with the withdrawal of foreign and non-ENDF forces from the region.”

Background

The Nairobi meeting between the top military commanders of the two sides was convened “to discuss and workout detailed modalities on the implementation including, disarmament issues, taking into account the security situation on the ground” as is mentioned in the statement below, as well as “provide a roadmap for immediate humanitarian access and restoration of services in the Tigray region.”

The agreement to facilitate unhindered humanitarian access will “begin with immediate effect,” according to the AU’s Horn of Africa envoy and main negotiator, Olesegun Obasanjo, which addresses earlier concerns over delays as humanitarian access remain blocked despite the permanent cessation of hostilities agreement, which stipulated the immediate resumption of unimpeded humanitarian supply to Tigray.

According to Uhuru, the Nairobi meeting’s key priorities were two: to work on silencing the guns, and to ensure immediate humanitarian access to the people Tigray and the surrounding regions, and all the people of Ethiopia. “All the issues that concern the peace and security of Ethiopia have been addressed by the parties,” he said, which is to “end the suffering that has been occasioned as a result of this war.”

The Pretoria document has discussed the issues of transitional justice, but that will follow once the guns are silenced, and once humanitarian access are ensured. “We are cognizant, but we must begin where we must begin,” he said, adding the rest shall follow through as part of the political process and as part of the healing process.

But he cautioned that there “shall be severe sanction on anyone who will commit atrocities against civilians.” AS

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